I've met quite a few Christmas tree growers through my job, but I've never set up a real Christmas tree in our house. This year, I decided to convince my husband to help me pick out our first real Christmas tree. It turned out, he didn't need much convincing. His family never had a real Christmas tree when he was growing up, so he was all for the idea. He suggested that we drive to a nearby grocery store and pick out a tree. But I insisted that we visit a local Christmas tree farm.
There aren't many Christmas tree farms left in Iowa. It's a tough business to get into. First, you need the land. With today's high corn prices, you're likely to make more money planting corn than planting Christmas trees. Plus, operating a Christmas tree farm is a lot harder than it looks. You need to tend to the trees throughout the year, trimming and weeding and spraying for insects when necessary. You also have to keep the deer from eating all your trees. And did I mention that it takes seven years before a Christmas tree is large enough to sell? You better have a lot of patience if you're a Christmas tree grower.
My husband and I traveled to the Kidman tree farm near Polk City to buy our tree. We chose a White pine, because I love the "Teddy bear" soft needles.
|I'm leaving the tag on the tree as an "ornament."|
We bought the tree stand at the farm, as well, for only $25. It's a very sturdy tree stand, and very simple to use. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture before we put the tree up. But I'll post one sometime.) The best part of buying straight from the farm? They had the tree all wrapped and placed in the back of our pick-up by the time we left the gift shop. We were in and out in 15 minutes, which made my impatient hubby very happy.
So far, the tree has been very easy to care for. It's like an indoor gardening project. I water the tree twice a day, since it sucks up quite a bit of water. We've had only a few needles to clean up from the carpet. I put down a layer of garbage bags to protect the carpet from water, but so far, there hasn't been any water spilled, another benefit of a good tree stand.
I wrapped the tree in the homemade tree skirt my mother-in-law made for us. It's such a beautiful addition to our holiday decorations.
You may have noticed that I don't have any ornaments on the tree. Too be honest, I'm not really a fan of ornaments. I hate packing and unpacking them each year. I might make time to put a few ornaments up, but I'm happy with just the lights. My philosophy with Christmas lights: the more colorful, the better!
So does your family prefer a real tree to an artificial tree? Do you prefer white lights over colored lights? Or do you skip the tree all together? I'm usually not big on decorating the house for the holidays, but I was excited about getting a real tree for the first time.